There are many styles of design. What elevates the good and proper to the great and memorable is courage and authenticity.
James is unafraid to experiment, mixing roses with succulents to great effect.
In his youth, this homeowner mowed lawns for spending money.
Life was good. Coming home to his native California after time living in Virginia, he and his partner found this home in the enclave of Nellie Gail, an equestrian friendly luxury subdivision of Laguna Hills.
Approximately 250 of 350 roses were planted this year
The home and garden was a bit more ordinary in appearance when the publicity-shy couple took possession of the 4,296 square foot home 7 years ago. Then, it was sheaved in proper elements of anonymous origin.
The homeowner recalls the front landscape at the time they moved in was not much more than " a big rolling lawn with a stucco planter around the base of the coral tree." Near the garage was " a no man's land of volunteer palm trees and weeds."
|Lawns are used for soft footing to wander through planing beds on.
With this mission in mind, for each of the past 7 years, the couple sculpted and adorned their home and garden, one area at a time. James explains the wisdom of choosing one area at a time to upgrade as "by focusing, we got the detail right." Not only that, the majority of the property remained usable at all times.
Living in an area blessed with the rare climate of Mediterranean Tuscany, many of the design elements and plantings reflect the uncommon commonality of good weather.
|From one approach the home is first seen where the horse trail crosses
Stacked stones visually added textural interest while pushing out the framing of usable planting areas from the lawn.
|Iron lighting grounds the froth of roses from visually floating away.
Before we go inside, take a look at the creative mix of foliage and flower potted up at the entrance.
Most of the home was closed to prying eyes, but from what we were allowed to traverse, behind the beauty you sense how the rooms were planned with the intent to entertain larger groups of people who might be enjoying a live performance of the caliber of someone such as David Burnham, the man nailed the role of Fiyero in Wicked.
Plain plaster pillars were cut, fitted with molding and painted in a replication reminiscent of fine European woodworking found in manor houses.
|The old gold of the chandelier adds a restrained pop of elegance against the deep wood tones of a formal library.
Michele Dawn Designs brilliantly executed depth of color on the interior walls. The magic glow conjured from wines, copper and metallic gold rubbed into each each other.... magnificent! Equally stunning were the lighter tones of Venetian plaster- a technique requiring patience beyond the typical house painter.
Ah, in the backyard were wonderful reminders that fine design is not about being high end. Fine design is about comfort and beauty appropriate to the owners and the setting.
Little vignettes I found absolutely charming included this hall tree in the shelter of the patio .
James says "I needed something tall and narrow to cover up an old intercom system that we have yet to remove. I found the damaged hall tree at a second hand shop for about $20 and used some leftover fabric from redoing the headboard on the bed in the master suite. I tacked it to the back and used some of the gardening tools." Voila!
|Close up detail
|Different proportions of related warm colors highlight the architectural interest. Tall urns are available at Lowe's.
James says of the enchanting cabana on the far side of the pool, that when they moved in, it was an avoided eye-sore of weathered wood and worn-out fabric overlooking a dusty horse trail.
Fresh paint, clean fabric and dense plantings- voila'- a destination perfect for an intimate chat between friends.
This lovely outdoor room...
on a chilly night- the double armed heaters allow more guests to linger before heading home.
Thank you dear readers, for joining me on this tour of a home loved to its full-potential.
Until we meet again, Thank you for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful!
Michelle Dawn 949. 350.3340